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Local Sports

Spring is coming — no kidding

Something funny— NOT — happened on the way to spring. Mother Nature wasn’t ready to relinquish her hold on winter. Officially, the first day of spring for 2019 is not until March 20 — 12 days from now.

Basketball for area high school teams is done. Wrestling and boys’ swimming came to an end several weeks ago. We’ve moved on despite the chilly, wintry weather still locked on Iowa.

Track practices began on Feb. 11. Newton High’s track athletes had two of their four indoor meets this week with the Little Hawkeye Conference meet on Thursday at Grinnell College. A few Colfax-Mingo athletes, girls and boys, competed this week while Baxter’s boys and girls and Prairie City-Monroe’s girls get in an indoor meet on Friday.

Then there’s a week of no competitions followed by track teams back indoor at Iowa State and the South Iowa Cedar League meet with Lynnville-Sully and Colfax-Mingo teams competing. Colfax-Mingo will host a coed meet on March 21 at Grinnell College and PCM’s girls are at another Pekin meet at Central College on March 22.

Let’s hope a warmup gets here quick. Most of the spring sports — outdoor — are slated to start getting underway after March 25.

Boy’s soccer along with girls’ and boys’ tennis and golf begin practices on Monday, March 11. A week later, March 18, girls’ soccer kicks off practices.

Troy Hyde and myself are beginning to gather information for spring sports previews. We will attempt to get those stories in the Newton Daily News before the outdoor activities begin.

Basketball finishes up statewide for Iowa high schools Friday with the boys’ state championship games.

My only interest in basketball right now is with my Kansas State Wildcat teams. I see more on the Wildcat men because they are one win away from wrapping up the Big 12 Conference regular-season championship. 

The Wildcat women finished tied for fourth at 11-7 in the Big 12 and 20-10 overall heading into the conference tournament.

Right now it’s pretty simple for the Wildcat men — win and they clinch at least a share of their first Big 12 championship since tying with Kansas in 2013. K-State hosts Oklahoma on Saturday on Senior Day in Manhattan. 

The Sooners, who is coached by former K-State standout player and coach Lon Kruger, put a halt to the 14-year run by KU as Big 12 regular-season champion. Although people forget that the Wildcats shared one of those titles.

For much of the Big 12 season, Iowa State’s Cyclones were in the hunt but a swoon by the Cyclones of late has put them out of the race. I’m counting on the Cyclones to help by Wildcats out a bit on Saturday — beat Texas Tech in Ames. K-State (23-7) and Texas Tech (25-5) go into the final games at 13-4 in conference action. Both win or both lose and they share the title.

Just a side note: all my KU friends were on Facebook on Tuesday night making excuses for the Jayhawks (22-8, 11-6 Big 12). So young, too many injuries, etc. The freshmen a team like Kansas has each year are far from “young” players as most are 4-star or 5-star recruits. KU fans just admit the Jayhawks just weren’t as good this year and go on.

I don’t want to jinx the Wildcats. But it would be sweet!

As a Kansas City Royals fan, I took a hit last week when it was reported all-star catcher Salvador Perez was injured in a spring training workout in Surprise, Ariz. Then it came out the right elbow injury was severe enough to require Tommy John surgery.

Salvy is gone. He underwent a successful repair of his ulnar collateral ligament on Wednesday. Perez will miss the entire 2019 season. Dang it.

Salvy always looks like he has fun playing baseball. I’ll miss his competitiveness and his smile. Heal up Salvy and come back for another run in 2020.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets

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